Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Iraqi Nonviolence Group calls for end of bombing in Sadr City, April 8, 2008.

This post comes from the Iraqi Nonviolence Group (LAONF) via Kathy Kelly's Voices for Creative Nonviolence in Chicago. In a report on the assassination of Moqtada al-Sadr's brother-in-law, Riyadh al-Nouri, Time's Abigail Hauslohner report from Baghdad confirms that

"tension continues to boil in the vast Shi'ite slum of Sadr City. The neighborhood was to have remained locked down until Saturday, when the government was set to lift a curfew that has been in place since fighting broke out between government forces and the Mahdi Army at the end of last month. Residents of the beleaguered neighborhood - where American forces are assisting the Iraqi military in daily operations - say the situation remains bleak, and most are subsisting without water or electricity. "It was quieter today, but the streets are empty. We heard some bombing from American planes in another area," Sadr City resident, Eman Hamid, told TIME. "The Americans are moving from building to building. They are on the roofs of the buildings in Gayara neighborhood, in 83rd Square, and at Zahawi Hospital. There was no battle today involving the Mahdi Army, but the Americans are shooting at citizens randomly - at anyone who goes out in the street."

"She said Friday was the twelfth day Sadr City, home to millions of Baghdad's poor, came under U.S. air strikes. Friday morning, the fortified Green Zone compound, which houses the U.S. Embassy and most Iraqi government offices, was still coming under mortar fire, believed to have been launched by Mahdi Army fighters in Sadr City."

Stop the bombing over Al Sadr City in Baghdad. Stop the siege to the city. No more weapons

An urgent call from LAONF non violence group in Iraq about the humanitarian situation in Al Sadr City (Baghdad) – 08.04.2008

The continuous bombing of American occupation forces over Al Sadr City in Baghdad, the joint siege imposed by American and Iraqi army over the last 12 days, the spreading of snipers on the roof of buildings, the indiscriminate fire on civilians increased the numbers of victims in Al Sadr City, which is now living hell for its inhabitants.

LAONF non violence group calls for immediate stopping of the bombing from American occupation forces: it is putting in serious danger people’s lives and it is a major threat to peace in Baghdad.

The LAONF group would like to remind Iraqi government its responsibility to ensure safety of civilians: what is going on now is a collective punishment for a city where more than 2 million of Iraqi people live. 70% of them are women and children, living in precarious houses what could fall down any moment because of the intense bombing.

The total number of victims in the last few days are is worrying: Al Shaheed As’sadr hospital (Al Daghel area), counted 85 people killed, 446 injured, 153 out of them are women and children; Al Imam Ali hospital counted 115 people killed and 511 injured.

Many food items are no more available to civilians: most of the local shops and food stores have been burned down by snipers or because of the bombing. We call the President of Iraq, the head of Iraqi Parliament, the whole Iraqi government, the United Nations Special Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) for:

1 – immediate cease fire, stop American bombing and withdrawal of all American troops surrounding the city;
2 – ending the siege and withdraw all snipers form the top of the buildings;
3 – sending again Iraqi police to the city for granting public order;
4 - forbidding any kind of weapons inside the city;
5 – allowing representatives and activists of Iraqi and international NGOs and international agencies to enter the city and give immediate help to people in need.

As an actor in Iraqi civil society, we would like to remind to all parties, specially those convinced that weapons can solve the problem, that violence and weapons are the real problem.

We would like to call the attention of all parties on the humanitarian crises going on in Baghdad and on the worrying and fast increase of insecurity, that will become worse if siege and bombing will go on.

History will consider all of us accountable for the safety of civilians in Iraq.
Hand in hand for re-establishing rule of law and rejecting this collective punishment.


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